Filed under: Current selections | Tags: beer, Beer festival, Beverages, Binge drinking, Drink, Food, India Pale Ale, John LeMasney, Liquor store, Microbrewery, Mikkeller, Recreation, Shopping
You may have noticed that as of late I’ve slowed down my beer blogging considerably, and I have a very good reason: I’ve slowed my beer consumption considerably, and may very well stop drinking altogether. Before continuing, I want to say that I still very much love the craft beer movement, many of my friends and colleagues who enjoy, photograph, tweet, and blog about beer, and that I’ll still raise a glass with you, I just might not have any beer in mine.
I want to especially thank the following people and groups for sharing my quest for the best beer out there:
Gservo, gogoincognito, rkapes, scarbonaro, Angel and Bryan, Rob Mangold, Liz and the crew at the Hulmeville Inn, Mike at canal’s Burlington, the beer guys at Canal’s Lawrenceville, everyone at Super Saver Pennington, Ryan and the folks at Uno Grill in Hamilton, everyone at Issac Newton’s, Shawn Connelly and the Aleuminati, The Beer Boss, The Beer in Me, Beer Valley, the New Jersey Brewfest, the Beer Babe, Twitter Taste Live, Roch Pisarek, Jim in Hopewell, and the rest of you. Raise a pint for me, and enjoy.
My reasons for slowing, and perhaps stopping, my beer consumption are as follows:
1. I’ve gained 50 pounds in the last year, after losing over 100 in the last 3 years.
At one time, I was doing a small speaking circuit on how I lost over 100 pounds. My friends, kindly avoiding the topic, have surely noticed the return of my girth. Since I religiously record my calorie intake, I can very easily tell you that it is due to beer calories, which if you follow this blog, you know I pay attention to. However, some of my additional calories are due to post drinking easiness with which I’ll consume a few hundred calories that my sober self would easily have passed up.
2. I drink more than one or two great beers in a sitting, and sometimes drink 4 or 5.
While I can have just one beer, I don’t find a lot of fun in it. I’ve loved going to my local bottleshop, picking out a six of singles, and enjoying the complex differences between a few porters, IPAs, Belgians, or Hefeweizens. If I have the opportunity for a sampler, such as Triumph’s, I’ll always enjoy the variation in flavors and be quite satisfied with 12-14 ounces. When I’m sampling at home though, it’s easier to just splurge. The only problem is that it leads (in my individual case) to the other issues I’m listing here, not to mention, it’s called binge drinking, though it never felt that way to me.
3. Great beer can be up to $25 for a single 12 ounce bottle.
My favorite beer in the world is Mikkeller’s Black (look for the Chinese character) a 12 ounce bottle of the darkest, choclatiest, most delicious elixir I’ve ever tasted. It’s over a dollar an ounce at my place, coming in at about $18. A six pack is about $120 after taxes. This is an extreme case, but if you enjoy craft beer, you know that it’s not cheap. There are exceptions, especially when a case gets past its prime and goes on special, but in general, a six pack is between $8 and $10, and it can go pretty quick for me.
4. I’ve become closely associated with beer in my personal and professional circles.
There are some people who when they haven’t seen me for a while ask me what I’ve been drinking lately far before they’ll ask me what my favorite new application is, how my boys are doing, or how things are going at work. I’d like to be known as a list of things besides the beer blogging guy, not because I didn’t love this effort, but because I’m many things besides a beer blogger.
5. I have become recognized on sight at my local bottle shops.
When I go into any of 6 or 8 of my favorite bottleshops, I get a smile, a welcome, and a handshake. That’s nice, very nice, but the fact that I seldom get the same welcome at my favorite restaurants, food stores, libraries, etc. means that I may need to refocus my energies on strengthening different kinds of relationships.
6. I have taken to traveling for over an hour to visit great bottleshops throughout my state.
Oaktree BuyRite is a great bottle shop. I’ve traveled on a Sunday for over an hour so that I can get the finest selection of craft beer in the state. I could have been spending that time not burning gas, reading, sleeping, or playing with my sons. Again, it’s refocusing priorities.
7. When traveling, part of my itinerary is undoubtedly finding great beer.
I have a google map where I’ve collected high ranked beer shops in each of the areas I’ve visited in the last two years. I have gone on late night trips to supermarkets to see what that state’s offering comparative to NJ. Simply put, traveling for me became as much about finding great beer as taking great photos, and sometimes the beer finding outweighed the photos.
8. I’ve started getting beer related gifts for holidays and other occasions.
In the last three months, I’ve gotten 2 beer related shirts, 3 beer posters, and asked to go to a beer festival as my major birthday present. All nice gifts, but there are other things to enjoy.
9. My youtube videos, tweeps, social networks, and other online trails have become laden with beer related content.
I like my job, but I bet if I was job searching right now, I’d be answering questions about my obsessions with beer in interviews. I personally think I’d have great answers about why beer was such an important part of my life, but I bet that many people would read into my intense appreciation for beer as something else. It’s already happened with some people.
10. I want to refocus on other topics, such as leadership, technology, open source, training, and family.
As I said, while I really enjoyed this great ride, it’s time to give it a rest. This is by no means meant to be an insult to the brewing community, beer lovers, beer bloggers, or anyone else. It’s really just a way of communicating why you might not be hearing alot more from me about beer anytime soon. You can however start hearing from me about the topics in the header above, and many others.
Here’s to you, thanks for a great ride.
John LeMasney, formerly Beercritic.
Filed under: Imperial Stout (snifter), Struise | Tags: Beverages, chocolate, coffee, Food, Home, Palate, Shopping, syrup
Aroma is chocolate, coffee, and syrup. roasted malted barley, wood, and sweetness. Completely opaque, dark with a tan long lasting head. Crisp, very sour, syrup, striking flavor. Interesting and wonderful, very different. Alcohol is exquisitely hidden. Long sour finish, with a generally crisp and active palate. A very special brew.
Smoky, beefy aroma. Clear, brilliant deep amber color under a tan head. Flavor is oak, bitterness, and smoke. Texture is crisp, thick, and warming. Some sourness. Overall, exactly as the label conveys. Cheers to Great Divide.
Filed under: Mikkeller, wheat ale (shaker, weizen) | Tags: Mikkeller Not Just Another Wit
Pale yellow body under a bright white, sticky head with strong lacing.
Aroma is faint, but enticing, banana, cloves, wheat, pepper.
Flavor is cinnamon, banana, arugula, and peppercorns.
Texture is dry, crisp, active, and lightly biting.
Overall, a great hoppy take on the style, and a delicious example of a witbier.
Filed under: Dogfish Head | Tags: death by chocolate, hazy, jumping, knocks you over, long finish, overwhelming, rich, sipper, syrup, Syrupy, whack, wispy
Originally published on Published on: Sep 6, 2008 @ 2:55
ABV: 21 %
Calories: estimated at 300 C
Volume: 12 fl oz
Purchased at: Circle Liquors Super Saver, Pennington, NJ
Consumed at: home
Former Impression: Wow. Knocks you over. 0-60 in 3 sips. The aroma fills the room with flowery hops. The malt is jumping. The bottle conditioning is a nice touch. I like a little haze in my 21% ABV ale (!). It’s syrupy with sweetness. It seems like a barleywine style, except for the IPA overtones. You are absolutely forced to sip and recover. The aftertaste is long, palate damaging, and delicious. I would find it hard to pair this with anything but the richest foods. This is the death by chocolate of hoppy beers. Thick yellowish head reduces to a wispy white foam with nice lacing. The reputation of this beer precedes it and it does not disappoint, though I thought I would enjoy it a bit more than I am, it simply whacks you over the head. It’s like trying to drink coke syrup. It’s exactly what I asked for, but as they say, be careful of what you ask for, they might serve it to you in a 12 oz bottle for 9 bucks.
Current Impression: It is the essential full bodied beer. There is no other like it, save for some Avery brews. It is overwhelming, delicious in very small quantities, and a force to be reckoned with. There is very little to compare to this collection of peach, cherry, chocolate syrup, hops bitterness, and mint leaves. Superb.